Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, and Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther??Byer Suckoo, share a light moment with Chairman of the Cricket Legends of Barbados, Rev. Dr. Wes Hall.??

Cricket must naturally take the lead in sports tourism.

This assertion was made today by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy??as he addressed the launch of the inaugural Cricket Legends of Barbados International Cup (CLOBI).??The over 35, 20/20 tournament will be played later this year, from November 27 to December 5 at the Kensington Oval.

Describing the initiative as "highly worthwhile" given the seasonality of tourism, Minister Sealy said the industry was marked by highs and lows and "shoulder periods," where "taxi drivers have to park their cars, hotel workers are laid off and foreign reserves fall".

He said: "What we have to do is to fill those shoulder periods with appropriate events that will drive numbers to Barbados. And, we have indicated very clearly that the sports tourism option is one that can move numbers to Barbados and of necessity cricket has to take the lead in that regard.

"The track record is clearly there. Whenever there is an English tour to Barbados you can actually see the difference in our arrivals, in our numbers, and, of course England is our largest market."

The Minister praised the excellent facilities for cricket in Barbados and the "unique and very special asset called Cricket Legends".?? He noted "It is only natural that we try to leverage them both in a way that impacts our tourism numbers positively."????

While expressing pleasure at the concept surrounding the inaugural Masters tournament, Mr. Sealy added, "…it must entrench itself into the calendar at this very same period and I don’t expect it to be one-off and it is my expectation that this tournament would become a feature on the cricket calendar of events and become internationally recognised."

The inaugural day/night matches will see Masters representing four major teams namely Sri Lanka, South Africa, England and the West Indies. They will compete in round-robin style and the players will be a number of former test greats.?? The other big four nations, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan and India, are expected to come on board for the 2010 tournament.

Meanwhile, Minister of Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, said her Ministry was pleased to support the Cricket Legends of Barbados in this new initiative and that all opportunities to develop cricket were welcomed. ??Lauding the Cricket Legends for being innovative, she urged them not to worry about the aspect of sustainability as it related to the tournament.

Dr. Byer Suckoo opined: "They have got the vision, the business acumen; experience and progressive thinking and energy… Because of what they have been able to do with Herbert House and their plans for the development of cricket with this CLOBI Cup, we can see certainly that cricket is in good hands in Barbados."

Noting that such a competition would be attractive to the youth, she added: "Having the Masters here would also interest our young cricketers. It is a good opportunity for them to be able to see some of the greats… and have the spirit of cricket rekindled."

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